How often do you hold support group sessions?
We hold two support group sessions a month. We currently meet every third Monday of the month in our North London venue, and every second Tuesday of the month in our South London venue. Please see the Schedule page for exact dates and the Locations page for details of our venues.
Where are the group meetings held?
We currently have two London locations. Our North London support group sessions are held at the Vale Community Centre in South Kilburn. The nearest station is Kilburn Park station, which is on the Bakerloo line. It is a 5-8 minute walk from there.
Our South London support group sessions are held at St Anne’s Hall in Clapham. The nearest station is Clapham Common, which is on the Northern line. It is a 3-5 minute walk from there.
Please see our Locations page for our precise locations.
How long are the group meetings?
Our support group sessions last for two hours, between 6:30pm and 8:30pm. We occasionally finish a little earlier as our attendees often like to stay around at the end to chat with one another and we welcome you to do so. Speaking informally with others in a similar position to you can feel hugely relieving.
What happens in a support group session?
We pride our group on being defined by its members, and therefore, tend to fill our sessions with the things you would like to share and discuss at that time. We know that coping with grief can be an unpredictable journey, and therefore, we think it is better to deal with whatever feels most prominent on the day.
Typically we spend some time sharing our experiences in our confidential and non-judgmental space. We share memories, both happy and sad. And we will occasionally have speakers, some of whom specialize in bereavement, some of whom have been bereaved and written books on their experiences, some of whom are just inspirational talkers, and all will be announced on our Schedule page as and when they are booked. We provide refreshments each month and will occasionally spend time just catching up with one another over a cup of tea.
If you would like to make a suggestion for a group activity, please get in touch with us via the Contact page.
Why was the BPSG set up?
The BPSG was set up after a personal experience brought to light the lack of support for bereaved partners. Our Founder, Erin Hope Thompson, lost her father to cancer in 2008, and witnessed the struggle that her family members experienced coming to terms with their loss. Erin was struck by the lack of support for people who lose their loved ones to cancer, and especially for spouses. After all, it is often the husbands and wives who become the full-time nurses during the journey with cancer. When the loved one passes away, the loved ones are left with a very empty space, and often no idea how to fill it, or even how to pull through to a more manageable state of mind.
Erin sought support from Macmillan, an inspirational charity providing support for all those affected by cancer, whom have been very supportive of our new group for those bereaved by cancer. And after recruiting a dedicated and hard-working team, running focus groups, speaking to other professionals and support groups, the BPSG was born in November 2010 and our support group sessions started in April 2011.
Does the group provide therapy?
Our groups are self-help groups. This means that we do not provide formal therapy, but instead create an environment where we can share experiences informally. This allows for our groups to provide long-term support, rather than a strict number of therapy sessions. And it also allows for our groups to be of a drop-in nature – people can drop in as and when they feel is necessary, or attend every session. However, our groups are run by a number of psychologists who are trained to recognize if people would benefit from further support, which you are welcome to ask us about.
Can I help run the group in any way?
If you are interested in helping run the BPSG we would love to hear from you, even if it is just a spare hour here or there. We occasionally need help on a variety of tasks, both practical and creative. Practical tasks include spreading the word about the group through postering leaflets in local GP services or hospitals. Creative tasks include helping us think of new ideas for our session activities, reading and reviewing suggested bereavement books for us, or writing articles of your experiences for our website. All of these tasks, especially the creative ones, can be therapeutic in themselves. If you are interested in helping please get in touch via our Contact page.
Can I donate to the BPSG?
Yes, donations are always welcome, and will go towards funding our group sessions, branching out our support groups, booking inspirational speakers, and spreading awareness of our support. If you would like to make a donation you can press the Donate tab at the top of the page, or visit our Justgiving page separately at: http://www.justgiving.com/BereavedPartnersSupportGroup
You can give a one-off donation or sign up to donate monthly via Direct Debit. Every penny counts and goes towards supporting those who lose their loved ones to cancer.
Many thanks for your generosity.
I can’t get hold of anyone on the telephone number provided
We recently changed our contact telephone number, so it could be that you are trying to reach us on our old telephone number. Sorry for any confusion! For all questions regarding the Bereaved Partners Support Group, please call Erin on 07732-070-972. If she does not answer, please leave a message and she will get back to you as soon as she can.
Will the buildings be open if I am early?
Our sessions start at 6:30pm. Our venues do not open until 6:15pm so please try not to be any earlier than that because we don’t want you to have to wait outside!
Who is the BPSG for?
The BPSG is in place to support anybody bereaved by cancer. Our support groups were initially launched as a service for people who lose their husbands or wives to cancer. We have since heard from people other than spouses who are looking for similar support, e.g. siblings and children. It is not part of our ethos to deny support to anyone in need, and therefore, all that have lost a family member or friend to cancer are welcome. We welcome people from same-sex relationships, and people from all cultures and religions. All of our attendees are hugely supportive and welcoming - please feel free to come and be supported by us.